Committee for Memorial to Freedom Suits for Slaves Issues Request for Proposals from Regional Artists

For more information please contact:
Thom Gross, public information officer
22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri
314/622-5685
tgross@courts.mo.gov

ST. LOUIS (Aug. 18, 2015) — From the time of the Louisiana Purchase until the Emancipation Proclamation 57 years later, approximately 400 slaves filed suits in Missouri Courts to demand their freedom, assisted by lawyers working without pay.

A memorial commemorating these brave litigants and their attorneys is planned for the east plaza of the Civil Courts Building downtown.

The Freedom Suits Memorial Steering Committee this week published a Request for Proposals from regional artists for a memorial sculpture. Copies of the RFP are available from Thom Gross, public information officer for the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri. Requests may be emailed to tgross@courts.mo.gov. The RFP also may be downloaded from the website for the court, stlcitycircuitcourt.com/index2.html?XMLFile=xml/RFP.xml. Proposals are due by Nov. 9.

The sculpture will be aligned with the Gateway Mall and the Old Courthouse, where most of these suits were tried — including that of Dred Scott and his wife Harriet. The Scotts initially won their freedom in the St. Louis court but lost it on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, a decision that helped propel the nation into the Civil War.

The Steering Committee comprises 12 members representing the court, local lawyers and academicians, arts leaders and others. Fundraising will be conducted through the St. Louis Bar Foundation.